Public Safety / 2013


Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Hive Lighting

Hive Lighting proposes to install new state of the art lighting at an existing field or recreation center (soccer, baseball, playground, basketball, etc.) in the City of Los Angeles. This installation will greatly add to the safety and utilization of an existing neighborhood park. This new lighting will also allow communities, largely with no access to clean technology, the ability to participate and learn about the importance of environmental quality and human impact. Hive aims to improve the quality of lighting in the park, and make it cost effective to keep the park open longer, allowing for greater and more varied use by the community. Hive’s focus is to improve a park in an under-served, low income neighborhood, with a disproportionate incidence of violent crimes, where better lighting, more park access and increased after school activities can make a significant difference in the public safety of the community. We are especially interested in working with a park in the Summer Light Nights program in the City of Los Angeles. We will work with local partners like area churches, schools, neighborhood associations, and the business community to identify the park where Hive will install lights. “Angelenos who feel that they can work with family, friends, and neighbors to bring about positive, collective change are also more likely to report feeling safer.” (LA2050 Report page 34) Saving Costs, Means Saving Parks and Saving Lives: Hive’s lights use 50% of the power of the current lighting being used in parks, our bulbs last 10X longer than existing bulbs and they provide a higher quality of light that looks more like natural daylight. Los Angeles parks are feeling the budget tightening that has resulted from the economic downturn. Los Angeles already has some of the worst park access of any major US city. With only 33% of children in the city living within a quarter mile of a park, Los Angeles can’t afford to lose any of its parks or access hours. The City of Los Angeles already knows this and at great expense has run a very successful anti-gang program called Summer Night Lights to provide park access and activities during the hours associated with peak gang related activities. The program has seen a 57% reduction in gang homicides in participating areas. To prevent parks from having to close and operate with reduced hours, the City of LA needs all the costs savings it can find. Hive’s plasma lights will decrease the electrical bill for the park by 50%. Hive’s lights will also require bulb replacements roughly every 7 – 12 years as opposed to current lighting that often require replacement yearly. This means that maintenance, labor and electrical costs can be significantly reduced allowing for resources to be shifted to other park needs. Hive’s project will help expand the parks system as part of Los Angeles’ ongoing 50 Parks Initiative and increase hours of operation so that existing parks can serve even more of the community. Quality of Light Affects Safety: Hive’s plasma lighting is designed to be a solar simulator; this means that the new lighting will more closely match daylight. It may seem intuitive but more crime takes place in the dark at night. A 2012 Stanford study found that “results provide suggestive evidence that, by increasing ambient lighting, regions may be able to decrease street crime” and “robbery, and violent street crime, decreases by approximately 51%... in the hour where the amount of light increases.” Fields lit with Hive lights will feel more like real daylight and will have a positive effect on the behavior of the individuals in the park after sunset, and increase the community’s sense of security. More Activities Mean Less Crime: Adding Hive’s plasma lighting to a park means that LA can take advantage of Los Angeles’ climate to provide year-round outdoor activities to our communities. This is especially true in the hours after school and in the evening when increased park access can have the greatest effect on young people in the community. A 2004 study of California’s after school programs “in 12 high-risk California communities found that, compared to when they started the program, crime and delinquency-related behavior among participants declined significantly after students completed the program. Vandalism and stealing dropped by two-thirds, violent acts and carrying a concealed weapon fell by more than half, and arrests and being picked up by the police were cut in half.” If the hours of operation for parks and community centers can be increased with lights that are less expensive, park access and park activities can be increased. This will give more of our young people the opportunity to get involved in positive after school activities, and will decrease gang involvement, drug and alcohol abuse and the criminal activities associated with both.

What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

Hive Lighting is a Los Angeles based specialty lighting design, manufacturing and installation company for high output energy efficient fixtures. Hive is part of the Mayor’s Los Angeles CleanTech Incubator, bringing clean technology companies to the City of Los Angeles.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator/Cleantech LA: LADWP, City of Los Angeles. Hive also plans to partner directly with the Summer Night Lights Program and the 50 Parks Initiative. Hive will also seek to work with the LAPD and the Department of Recreation and Parks to measure and evaluate the success of the project.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

Success for Hive and for the project will be measured objectively.

1) A reduction of crime during the hours of operation in the park and in the community surrounding the park. 2) Working with City of Los Angeles’ Recreation and Parks department as well as local community associations, schools, churches and businesses to select the park most in need of lighting of this nature. 3) Completion of the installation of Hive’s state of the art, energy efficient lighting in one of Los Angeles’ City Parks and Recreation Centers. 4) Reduced operating cost for the park. Specifically success is cutting the power consumption of the lighting for the playing fields in half. The average light being used on a playing field consumes 1,000 Watts. Hive would install a 450 Watt plasma lamp, cutting power consumption in half, potentially saving the park over 1 Megawatt per light, per year. On top of that are reduced maintenance costs because bulb replacements will be needed no more than once a decade, instead of every year. 5) Improved light quality and increased access for the community during evening hours. Documented through a survey of people using the park, the surrounding neighborhood and Dept. of Recreation and City parks employees.

Beyond these initial concrete measurements, overall success for the project will be seen in more lagging indicators. A reduction of crime in the park overall and in the community the park is adjacent to over time and finally an increased sense of safety and security in the community.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles?

Our goal with this project is to inspire the use of energy efficient lighting to improve park access and park quality throughout the City of Los Angeles. The result will be safer communities and safer public spaces. Making parks brighter and less expensive to operate allows for increased usage by the communities that are adjacent to the parks during traditionally peak crime hours. This also allows the parks to be used for further after school activities, which will help youth in underserved communities avoid gangs, drugs and the criminal behavior associated with both. Los Angeles is in desperate need of more public spaces for its youth to exercise and gather in safely, and our lights make that possible.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

Success in 2050 is a vibrant and safe public park system in Los Angeles, lit with low energy, high quality lighting. Angelenos of all income levels will have access to parks and recreational activities they will have an increased sense of community because LA will have safe outdoor gathering areas for exercise, organized sports and events. Having safe well-lit epicenters throughout Los Angeles in 2050 will reduce violent crime, property crime, and gang activity, as well as increase economic and health opportunities in communities that until now were unsafe at night. By 2050, LA will have a bright, beautiful and vibrant park system and as a result, less crime and safer communities.